Eucalyptus – are there more than just a few different species?
Eucalyptus – are there more than just a few different species? Recently, I was asked about this. The answer is an emphatic yes.
There are actually more than 600 species of Eucalyptus according to Wikipedia (2018, Battaglia). It grows in several areas of the world but is predominantly naturally occurring in Australia. Other areas in Brazil, Africa, the Mediterranean, and even in China.
Within the essential oil industry, we utilize a far smaller number than the 700 that are known. In fact, there are really only about six or seven species that we utilize. These include Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Narrow-leafed Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata), Gully Gum Eucalyptus or Gully Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii), Peppermint Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives ct piperitone), Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), and Ironbark Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Staigeriana). Again, these are just a few of the more commonly used within the essential oils industry.
About the commonly used Eucalyptus species:
Most individuals are familiar with Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). Due to its low cost, it is very easy to find it is found sold by almost every single essential oil company. It is commonly used by adults to help manage sinus congestion. In recent years there has been a great deal of confusion due to misinterpretation of information about this oil.
Narrow-leafed Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) is another commonly utilized essential oil. It is more frequently recommended for use in small children due in part to the lower eucalyptol or 1,8 cineole content in the overall chemistry. It is similar to the Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) but has a much softer aroma making it easy to blend with.
Gully Gum Eucalyptus or Gully Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) is a wonderful essential oil that is also recommended for use in children and elderly. It is again, similar to Blue Gum, but with a slightly lower eucalyptol content compared to the unrectified Blue Gum.
The next more commonly utilized essential oil is Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives ct piperitone). This is a fantastic essential oil that is often utilized to help break up thick mucous and bronchial congestion in little ones due to the piperitone content.
Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) is another well used essential oil. It has a very high citronellal content that makes it a wonderful oil to use in antibacterial blends or insect repellent blends. Just be cautious of using it during bee swarming season!
The Ironbark Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Staigeriana) is the final Eucalyptus species in this article. It is specifically known for its antibacterial actions as well as its ability to be emotionally soothing. For this reason, I have heard individuals say it makes a wonderful substitute to that of the more costly Melissa (Melissa officinalis).
Are there any others available?
While the ones mentioned above are the more commonly used, there are still a few more. With more than 600 Eucalyptus species, there are definitely others available. One in particular includes the Strawberry Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus olida). This particular oil is primarily methyl cinnamate and tends to crystalize when it cools. It used more in the flavoring industry although the potential for use in the essential oil industry is currently being looked at closely. The hydrosol has a wonderful strawberry like aroma according to Mark Webb (2018, Webb).
Can you think of any other Eucalyptus species that are currently used in the industry? If you are interested in learning about a few more, I recommend looking at Tony Burfield’s publication “Natural Aromatic Materials: Odours & Origins (2nd E).
Battaglia, S. (2018). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (3rd ed., Vol. 1). Zillmere, AU: Black Pepper Creative Pty Lt.
Burfield, T. (2016). Natural aromatic materials: Odours & Origins (2nd ed., Vol. 1). Tampa, FL: Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.
Webb, M. (2018, April). Strawberry Gum Eucalyptus. Retrieved May 20, 2019, from http://www.bush-sense.com/posts/strawberry-gum/